Perhaps, one of the more interesting presentation at last week’s APEX TC Meeting in Los Angeles was the VT Miltope/RazorSecure discussion on IFEC Security. Why? Because airplane connectivity hacking is an issue we all are concerned about, especially if you travel. But more importantly, hacking an airplane is a very big deal! When we heard about the RazorSecure pitch, we contacted Jeff Drader, Director of Business Development at VT Miltope about the presentation, and after seeing it, we had a few questions for Jeff.

Everyone we talk to about aviation security is happy to address airport security, but issues pertaining to hackers in the plane (or on the ground affecting a plane) highlight the importance of the technical problems involved, the issues that can be discussed (security) and the eventual connectivity implications and solutions required.

Firstly, we asked Jeff about the TC itself and he noted: “The APEX Tech forum was this past week, and was good as usual. I’d say it has become more professional – with a broader scope. Not too long ago, the WAEA/APEX Tech committee was focused on the techie aspects of IFE, such as developing audio and video specifications related to the IFE industry. Now, it strikes a broader note, including how to provide/promote advertising to passengers …” When we asked about the technical focus of the VT Miltope/RazorSecure presentation, he told IFExpress: “RazorSecure is focused on embedded cybersecurity in the area of transportation, with initial deployments on trains. RazorSecure has been successfully detecting and diffusing on-board attacks and breaches as well as system installation issues.” He went on: “By year end, RazorSecure and VT Miltope plan to offer RazorSecure cybersecurity intrusion detection software as a part of VT Miltope’s nMAP2 airborne wireless access point.  In addition, VT Miltope’s next generation MAP3, with 802.11ac WAVE 2, will also incorporate RazorSecure cybersecurity software.  Since passengers now connect through these wireless access points to the cabin systems, this will be the first line of defense. The RazorSecure intrusion software, in conjunction with enhanced Cognitive Hotspot™ Technology software, provide formidable cybersecurity protection at a potentially vulnerable gateway to the cabin network. As Alex Cowan described this past week at the APEX Tech forum in Los Angeles, passive cyber detection, such as virus filters and firewalls, are no longer sufficient.  Active cybersecurity intrusion detection is necessary to keep ahead of quickly adapting attacks.  RazorSecure’s approach includes the detection of malicious software such as:

  • DOS Attack
  • Physical Attacks
  • Remote Shell Access
  • Critical Configuration Changes
  • Authentication and Misconfiguration
  • And, many more …”

We think you get the picture but, no doubt, IFEC security will get much bigger in the coming years and we cant wait to see who and when drives WPA3 to the aviation front. We also note, Alex Cowan mentions in his presentation that this year has seen increasing attacks against network equipment and you can bet that this is just the beginning!  Here are the RazorSecure presentation charts


Panasonic/AeroMobile

AeroMobile, a Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, and leading UAE telecommunications operator Etisalat have partnered to simplify and reduce the cost of mobile phone use inflightinflight. AeroMobile’s inflight mobile phone service is now available in Etisalat’s mainstream roaming packages, allowing their subscribers to stay online, make and receive calls, listen to voicemail on AeroMobile equipped aircraft at no extra cost. AeroMobile inflight mobile services are available on more than 20 airlines worldwide including Emirates and Etihad in the UAE. Kevin Rogers, CEO of AeroMobile, says: “Etisalat is renowned for being at the leading edge of the customer experience and this new market-leading offer shows their continued commitment to providing the very best service to their subscribers, whilst also endorsing the importance and relevance of in-flight mobile services to the traveling public.”


Airbus

Greece’s biggest airline, AEGEAN Airlines, has firmed up an order for the purchase of 30 A320neo Family aircraft at a ceremony in Athens, witnessed by Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras.  The purchase agreement, comprising 10 A321neos and 20 A320neos, was signed by AEGEAN Chairman Eftichios Vassilakis and Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. It follows an earlier Memorandum of Understanding signed in March 2018. Currently, AEGEAN operates a fleet of 49 Airbus aircraft (37 A320s, 11 A321s and 1 A319).

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 15 percent fuel savings at delivery and 20 percent by 2020. With nearly 6,100 orders received from 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market. The A321 is the largest member of the A320 Family and seats between 185 and 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances and cabin innovations, the A321neo can fly up to 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 kilometres) non-stop – further than any other single-aisle airliner.


Boeing

Bamboo Airways

Boeing and Bamboo Airways announced a commitment for 20 787-9 Dreamliners in deal that would be worth $5.6B at current list prices, when finalized. The announcement was made during a signing ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce office, witnessed by Voung Dinh Hue, deputy prime minister of Vietnam, and Nazak Nikakhtar, Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.

As part of the agreement, Bamboo Airways completed the deposit requirement in mid-June to reserve the 20 airplanes, which are tentatively schedule to deliver from April 2020 through 2021.

“We are excited to introduce these new 787 Dreamliners into our fleet as we prepare to launch long-haul operations to international markets,” said Mr Trinh Van Quyet, Chairman of FLC Group, 100% owner of Bamboo Airways. “Our long-term vision is to connect Vietnam to key markets within Asia, Europe and North America and the capabilities of these new state-of-the-art Dreamliners will help us achieve our goals. The 787’s superior economics and efficiency, as well as the passenger pleasing interior of the Dreamliner will allow us to successfully grow our business while enabling us to better serve our customers.”

Bamboo Airways is a startup airline that plans to begin commercial operations in 2019 out of the capital city of Hanoi. The carrier plans to offer flights within Vietnam before expanding into other Northeast Asian markets such as China, Korea and Japan. “We are delighted to welcome Bamboo Airways to the Boeing family and we look forward to Bamboo joining the growing group of global airlines that fly the 787 Dreamliner,” said Mr Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are confident that the 787 will help launch Bamboo’s long-haul operations and serve as the foundation of their success for many years to come.”

The 787 Dreamliner is an all-new, super-efficient family of commercial airplanes. Since 2011, more than 690 Dreamliners have been delivered to operators, flying over 255 million people on more than 680 unique routes around the world, saving an estimated 25 billion pounds of fuel.

At 20 feet (6 meters) longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 extends the family in capacity and range, flying more passengers and more cargo farther. The airplane can fly 290 passengers, in a typical two-class configuration, up to 7,635 nautical miles (14,140 km).

Bamboo Airways is wholly-owned by the FLC Group, a Vietnamese multi-industry company, focusing on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming, and golf.

Boeing & FedEx

In another story, BOEING and FedEx Express announced a new order for 12 767 Freighters and 12 777 Freighters as the world’s largest air cargo carrier continues to invest in the industry’s most capable freighters to better serve its customers. The new airplanes, valued at $6.6 billion at list prices, will appear on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries webpage once contingencies have been met.This order comes as the air cargo industry continues to gather strength. A year after demand grew by nearly 10 percent, global air freight is on track to increase by another four to five percent in 2018.

Air cargo carriers are adding capacity to keep up with demand, either by converting passenger airplanes into freighters or ordering new production cargo jets. With the latest order from FedEx Express, Boeing has sold more than 50 widebody freighters so far in 2018. FedEx Express and Boeing have a long-standing partnership. The express carrier is a major operator of the Boeing 757 Freighter and the largest operator of the 767 Freighter and 777 Freighter. FedEx is also a customer of Boeing’s Global Services business.

The 767 Freighter, based on the 767-300ER (extended range) passenger jet, can carry approximately 58 tons (52.7 tonnes) of revenue cargo with intercontinental range, making it a flexible platform for serving long-haul, regional or feeder markets.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s longest range twin-engine freighter. The jet can fly 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a payload of 112 tons (102 metric tonnes or 102,000 kg). With the 777 Freighter, FedEx has been able to connect Asia with its hub in Memphis, Tenn. non-stop and reduce transit times by up to three hours. This has enabled FedEx to accept packages later in the day and still deliver them on time. The 777 Freighter also uses 18 percent less fuel compared to the airplanes it replaces, and provides quieter takeoffs and landings that meet airport noise standards.

And yes, here is their hypersonic passenger design concept –

Boeing Unveils Hypersonic Airliner Concept | Commercial Aviation content from Aviation Week


Other News

  • Need a quick trip to the airport – cheap too? How to Find Cheap Transportation to and From Major Airports
  • Predictive Maintenance is coming of age – and EasyJet Airlines is one of the first users of some 50 predictive algorithms used on their A319’s. The following link is the Avionics story on the Rockwell Collins/Airbus/Plantir Tech solution:EasyJet Talks Evolving Predictive Maintenance Operations at AEE – Avionics
  • Tim Clark, Emirates CEO desires airplanes for passengers without cabin windows. He argues that such a plane would be 50% lighter – and we assume he doesn’t mean that there will be half of the passengers choosing the viewless travel. After all, at night or when the crew closes the shades, it is quite a similar experience!
  • Remember the actor – Michael Rapaport? He is now a hero! Michael Rapaport Stopped A Man Opening An Emergency Exit On A Plane
  • Bob Bogash sent this note about aviation pioneer Kelly Johnson: “As many of you know, Kelly is a personal hero, and I have written a lot about him.  I have also given quite a few talks about his life as an aircraft designer and project manager.  I’ve bragged I could probably teach a semester course on his life, and actually, it’s not much of an exaggeration. This is the 75th Anniversary of his founding of the Skunk Works, and there’s been quite a bit of press – some of it chest-pounding on the part of Lockheed.  Well, that’s understandable, I reckon, even though they were pretty glad to see him retired, at the time.” Check out these links on the subject: 1) http://www.rbogash.com/U-2/U-2.html 2) http://www.rbogash.com/kellyairplanes.html